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SEWAGE SPILL ON FOREST GLEN: CITY LIES TO VICTIMS WON’T PAY FOR CLEANUP

By   /   December 4, 2010  /   Comments

By Kevin Hogencamp

It’s one thing that the City of Albany’s mishap spilled feces and other raw sewage into two Albany houses last December, forcing the residents to abandon the comfort of their houses over Christmas while repairs were made.

But did city hall pay for the damages to one of the homes – and not the other?

That’s exactly what has happened, with the Albany City Commission’s blessing, out of spite for an elderly couple because they sought personal-injury damages in addition to the property damage settlement agreed upon by city hall, according to public records and statements by City officials.

Evidence in the matter also shows that City Attorney Nathan Davis falsely state during a television interview that the Freeneys’ case had been settled.

Linda and George Freeney provide details of their complaint in a lawsuit filed in Dougherty County Superior Court supported by public records and notes of statements that city officials made to reporters after sewage backed up into the Freeneys’ home on Forest Glen Drive. While City workers were working on a nearby sewer line, sewage entered the Freeneys’ and Helen and Orvis Powells’ homes through the toilets with so much force that it splattered on their walls. The Powells were paid for their claim against the city earlier this year.

The Freeneys are requesting that they be reimbursed $29,902 for costs associated with the spill – a settlement already approved by the City. Further, in an effort not to confuse the City’s agreement to pay for repairs with the Freeneys’ effort to receive personal-injury damages, the Freeneys are asking the court to force the City to be “immediately restrained and enjoined from publically by innuendo, insinuation, or otherwise from threatening or harassing the Freeneys or from revealing confidential offers of settlement relating to any personal injury offers and counteroffers and from discussing or disclosing in public matters germane to any offers of settlement in any way related to the sewage incident which impacted the Freeneys in the public media or otherwise …”

The Freeneys are represented by the Albany law firm Margeson, Flynn & Associates.  The City is being represented by Assistant City Attorney Jenise Smith.

According to the lawsuit and substantiated by records produced by the Freeneys, City officials agreed on May 25 to pay the $29,902 for property damages to the Freeneys’ home.

But as of this week, the check has yet to be issued, as promised.

“During the next several days after the May 25th conference … there were ongoing calls and various written correspondence between the City of Albany and the Freeneys’ attorney whereby additional offers and counteroffers were made by both sides attempting to also settle the Freeneys’ personal injury claim in addition to the previously settled property damage claim,” the lawsuit states.

The Freeneys’ attorney issued a written counteroffer to the city on May 27, stating that if the City did not accept the offer by June 1, “we will pick up the PD (property damage) check as originally agreed on Thursday of next week, June 3, 2010, at the office of (city risk manager) Veronica Wright and will continue with our planned PI (personal injury) litigation accordingly.”

On June 1, after the Freeneys withdrew their offer due to the City not responding, the City attempted to accept the Freeneys’ offer, and the Freeneys declined. The City then responded by issuing the Freeneys a check for the amount of property and personal injury damages the Freeneys offered on May 27, and the Freeneys’ attorney returned the check.

From there, the situation got worse, the Freeneys claim, culminating with Davis claiming in a news report that the Freeneys had accepted a $58,431 settlement, which was “a misstatement that there was a settlement between the parties when there was, in fact, no settlement in view of the Freeneys’ June 1, 2010 revocation letter,” the lawsuit states.

Further, Davis violated “the City’s own covenant to keep all offers confidential,” the lawsuit states, and the City further damaged the Freeneys by “placing the Freeneys in a bad light because they revoked their counteroffer to the City of Albany, which was their constitutional right to do so, without giving an explanation of the extent of the Freeneys’ losses and harms and the suffering they have gone through and are continuing to go through because of this tragic sewage incident.”

City officials refuse to comment on the matter.

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  • Published: 1426 days ago on December 4, 2010
  • By:
  • Last Modified: December 1, 2010 @ 6:53 am
  • Filed Under: Government
  • Tagged With: featured
 

Comments

  1. Truth B Known says:

    Oh thats just like our Officlas.The Checks in the mail.

  2. Truth B Known says:

    Hey where did all the money go to fix the sewer lines that Albany got?

  3. Truth B Known says:

    I live in a small subdivision,and the same think happened to us.But the insurance company i have said it was the water companys fault.I have pictures of the damage.Over 5 thousand dollars worth.But no one was responseable.See they are privately owned,so the Fedral Gov. regulates them.Now we pay over $100 dollars a month for just water and sewage.
    Our water bill reads like this,and i have called them many times to ask about the charges.In this i will tell you what they say each charge is for.
    Water base charge $25.83 this month(this they say is for having the privlage to use there water.}
    5,570 gallons at $4.32 per 1,000 gallons =$24.06
    total residential Water Service $44.81
    Waste water Service $51.13 {now if you dont use but $24.06 water,how can you use $51.13 sewage?}
    total bill this month alittle lower for some reason,$95.94 (this is a low one}
    The company who has the water company is out of ILL.Now that money goes to ILL. Not Georgia.Then when it backed up on us,they said they were not to blame.That the Company that had the water company before was to blame becuase of how the pipes were layed out here in the 70s.
    Now if i am wrong tell me,but if you buy something it is yours,hook,line,and sinker.Even the good with the bad.We lived here before this compnay took over about 9 years ago,we have been here 17 years.So where do they get off telling us that one part of that is for the privlage of using there water.We were here first.And the damage was never coverd by them or my insurance company.I called around,im kinda what some would call a trouble maker,but i am not.I just think things should be done by the law.And if you break that law then you should have to pay.Call me trouble if you like.But i am just that way.Yes i complain alot about all kind of things.but if i dont who will?All i do is fight for my Rights.So if people call me a trouble maker than so be it.Makes me kinda happy to know i pose a threat that they would lable me as that.
    We are in some very hard times right now.People dont have jobs,and they have to fight to keep what ever they own.One way or another.
    But as we have seen so many times with Albany Officals,they dont like to be cought with there pants down(baggies)We work hard for what we have,and Gov. is out for them selfs.This is called fleecing of America.And it s wrong.
    I am sorry you all are going through this.But just know there are other who support you.
    Dont give up.I refuse to myself.Just call me Trouble.But at least i am Honest.

About the author

Owner / Editor / Writer

Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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